Free To Any Home: One Cat. 

(Slightly damaged. Bites and scratches some.)

Travis Humphreys

© Copyright 2001 by Travis Humphreys

Cat Story Logo.
That's not something you see in the classified section of the newspaper everyday, or any day. Its not on the posters you see on the poles near bus stops or street corners, and not on the adopt a cute kitty or puppy segment of the nightly news. I guess there would probably be damn few responses.

Everyone wants a really cute, young puppy or kitten when they make the decision to take a pet. Something pretty, something to show off and to teach tricks.

I wonder what goes wrong. Maybe the animal doesn't learn the tricks fast enough, or can't jump high enough, or maybe in a moment of fear, or vigorous play it scratches or nips the owner. Then mighty-man responds with all his strength and beats the hell out of a tiny animal. Now he has a terrified confused semi-wild animal on his hands. When he handles the little animal, it panics and inflicts another wound, which fetches it another beating etc. Eventually the animal is killed or taken to the shelter for euthanasia, if it is lucky. More often, the animal is not nearly lucky enough to expect a quick death.

People know me as Mountain Man. I consider myself a realist. I never considered myself an animal rights activist, but I can't tolerate needless suffering either. Although it is in my past now, I have hunted and eaten most animals in the U. S. I can say in all honesty, that I have never tortured an animal. On the rare occasions an animal was not killed outright, we tracked it and put it down quickly.

The reason I am writing this today has nothing to do with hunting. It is to address the unlucky unwanted domestic animals who don't die quickly, and the do-gooders who put them in that unbelievably cruel situation.

Every day people take poor unwanted animals, especially cats, to the countryside and "set them free". They are natural hunters, they will do fine in the wild, and it will be much better than having them destroyed right? Wrong damn it! Wrong! They don't have enough knowledge of hunting to stay healthy, and they are soon diseased, starved, fall prey to other predators, or perhaps kill chickens and get shot and wounded in the night. Furthermore, because there are so many do-gooders, there is never a shortage of these animals and they breed and multiply rapidly.

My home is in a secluded housing edition near a lake. We can't see from one house to another here, there are lots of woods. In any given day I see thirteen cats around my house. I know I will have to kill some of these cats. I like cats. We had three when I came here. Two died, one was just old, and Tigger, our favorite, died from a disease he caught from another cat.

Not long ago, a young female came to our door in an advanced state of starvation and in a great deal of pain. She had lost an eye and had a serious infection. She was terrified of people (I have scars to verify that) and yet she still chose to seek help at our door. We brought her into the house, treated her fleas, and nursed her back to health. For four weeks she allowed no one to approach her. Two days after Tigger died, she trotted into the living room and jumped into my lap. Two weeks later, she presented us with three baby kittens.

I named her Murphy, for Murphy's Law. I thought she was the unluckiest cat I had ever seen. How wrong I was.

Four days ago, I began seeing a crippled cat in my driveway. She would not be approached of course. She was terrified. She did eat a bit of food. Two days ago, she was lying on the front step crying. We saw she was not just limping, her left rear leg was missing. My wife put out food and water, but when I tried to step out she again fled.

Yesterday she allowed my wife to pet her, and bring her inside. Aside from the war, I have never seen such horrible wounds. Her left rear leg was ripped out at the hip socket, missing entirely. A good part of her neck had been ripped away. The scars of the stitches were still evident where she had been shaved. How an animal could survive such wounds is a mystery to me. She must have lost a tremendous amount of blood.

She lying at my feet as I write this, she is the skinniest, scabbiest, saddest looking cat I think I have ever seen. She is also the most grateful. She will not let me out of her sight.

We have done what we can for her and she spends a great deal of time grooming. She obviously was someone's indoor cat. She is quite at home in our house. It is possible someone lost the cat, but there are no notices posted anywhere. I am afraid someone just found her too unattractive after her injuries healed and brought her to the cove hoping someone might take her in.

She is one of the fortunate ones. Most of the cats are killed by dogs, hawks or they are shot. Some starve, die of disease, or meet some other horrible death. Some have to be shot by myself, or my neighbors because they are just too near death to save, or even because there is just not room for another cat.

I just don't have the stomach for it anymore. So do me and all country folk a favor Mr. Do-Gooder, If you are not ready for the responsibility of an animal's life and well-being from the day you get it till the day you bury it, get a chia pet. And if you do decide to get an animal, have it spayed or neutered. There are plenty to go around already.

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